Ursula and Leonard Beurton

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'Rote Drei' agent files

Ursula and Leonard Beurton (KV 6/41-45)

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Beurton, alias Kuczynski, Hamburger, Benter, Miller, etc, was a key figure in the Rote Drei. Having been recruited as a Soviet intelligence officer in the early 1930s, she worked with her then husband Rudolf Hamburger as an intelligence officer in China and Poland, before moving to Switzerland in 1938, where she was responsible for the Rote Drei network. She married the Britisher Leonard Beurton in 1941 and moved with him to the UK, where she worked as a channel of communication with atom spy Klaus Fuchs. The Beurtons had been introduced by Alexander Foote, and Leonard Beurton, who had been born in the UK of German parents, had fought in the International Brigade in Spain before working as a wireless operator for the Rote Drei.

KV 6/41 reveals that Ursula Beurton was known to the Security Service before Foote's revelations, since interest had been taken in her husband since his spell in the Spanish Civil War. The file includes a photograph of Leonard Beurton, and the interrogation report taken by the port security officer in Liverpool when Beurton arrived in Britain in February 1941. She settled in Oxfordshire (originally at Clympton near Woodstock, then at Kidlington and Great Rollright near Chipping Norton), and was joined the following year by her husband (whose arrival interrogation report is also on file). The file contains copies of intercepted correspondence with Ursula Beurton. The file closes with extracts of Foote's statements, when it was first considered that Beurton might have been withdrawn from Switzerland and sent to Britain on a Soviet mission.

The immediate response was to intercept the Beurtons' correspondence, and the results are to be found on KV 6/42 (1947) and KV 6/43 (1947-1950). The first of these files also includes reports of the interviews with the Beurtons carried out by Skardon and Serpell in September 1947, at which Ursula Beurton's refusal to co-operate or answer questions in any way was taken as a tacit admission of guilt and seen as evidence of her Soviet intelligence service training. There are photographs of both the Beurtons in the latter file, which also records that Fuchs was shown a photograph of Ursula Beurton but did not identify her as his contact in Banbury.

The Beurtons left Britain for Berlin in December 1949 (Ursula) and June 1950 (Leonard) and Fuchs finally identified Ursula Beurton as his contact in November 1950. This is recorded in KV 6/44 (1950-1952), which also shows British liaison with the Americans over the case and the further product from intercepted mail from the UK to the Beurtons in Germany. The case closes with KV 6/45, which contains some further intercepted mail and occasional questions as to Mrs Beurton's whereabouts.